Mary Queen of Scots may not be 100% historically accurate, but I do not care. When we look at events and people who lived 500 years ago, we can forgive that all the facts are just right. Damn, we have enough trouble finding the facts about our leaders who now live properly. What makes this film particularly good, no matter what historians believe, is that it is a spinner drama about two wild independent women hearing their strong voices in a world manipulated by dodgy men (and still is). In its own way, it brings aspects of #MeToo and Time's Up in a way we never thought possible.
The success of this film version of the often-told rivalry in this case means that it fully integrates the hands of smart women in front of and behind the scenes. Yes, it was previously told cinematically – especially in 1936, Mary, Queen of Scotland, with Katharine Hepburn; The Queen of Scotland (19459003) from 1971, with Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson; and recently Elizabeth, The Golden Age with Cate Blanchett and Samantha Morton. Now we have the very age-appropriate and wonderful Saoirse Ronan, who gave Mary a punch in the face of the equally beautiful Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, who was banned here rather as a supportive turn, but a very effective one at that. Behind the camera, which is her first film ever, stands Josie Rourke, the renowned artistic director of England's famous Donmar theater group and veteran of numerous stage productions. She does well to bring this costume drama to life for the contemporary audience, as I did not expect.
The screenplay is by Beau Willimon (based on John Guy's book Queen of Scots: The True Story of Mary Stuart) best known for his Netflix series House of Cards in all manipulations and machinations are treated behind the scenes of current DC policy, and he has found a way to do the same momentum here comes alive in the historical context. And yes, one can rely on a direct confrontation situation between these two strong-minded women, which allegedly never happened in their real life, but it is dramatically necessary to get to grips with the essence of this story, and was, of course, a basic component of earlier narratives. As I said, I am not interested in 100% accuracy. I just want a story that works properly by these women and keeps my interest in them and their troubles of the time. They want to feel how it could have been.
Ronan plays Mary, Queen of France at the age of 16, widowed two years later, when England and Scotland are merged, so to speak. Robbie is Queen Elizabeth I of England, determined to rule over the new configuration, though she has to deal with the emerging rivalry of Mary, who believes she has a right to leadership because of her own heritage. This is the core of their complex rivalry and is consistently complicated by the secondary male characters who do not appear in the best light. These include Maria's husband (Jack Lowden) and Lord Dudley (Joe Alwyn), who also happens to drive around in another current client of the time, The Favorite.
Guy Pearce as William Cecil and Gemma Chan as Bess of Hardwicke also have moments in the minor cast, but this movie belongs to Ronan and Robbie, who both fulfill the mission of a story in which Mary is determined to overthrow her own cousin who risked everything to reach her goals (the opening scene indicates where this leads if you do not know your English history). Ronan, who is just 24 years old and already has three Oscar nominations, is present in a role she understandably fought for. Robbie continues to show her acting skills on every subsequent outing, especially in other scenes in which Elizabeth has to contend with a horror movie terrible case of smallpox at the age of 29 years. Alone for these ideas, it is worth seeing. By the way, Max Richter's score is Aces.
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward of the working title. Focus Features released it Friday. Click the link above to see the video test.
Are you planning to see Mary Queen of Scots? Let us know what you think.